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Introduction to Gardening

Mrs. King was first introduced to gardening after her marriage. Her mother-in-law, Mrs. Henry King, was an avid gardener who owned a large collection of gardening books and grew over two hundred different types of herbs around her Lake Forest, Illinois home. In later years Mrs. King recalled fondly that her mother-in-law, "had an old-fashioned formal garden on the order of that at Mount Vernon." Louisa came to share her mother-in-law's enthusiasm for plants and gardens and started her own garden at her nearby home in Elmhurst. Although Louisa was deeply affected by her mother-in-law's interest in gardens, she quickly advanced beyond her conservative taste in plantings. Louisa began to explore the latest English garden writings of authors such as Willima Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll and began to develop ideas more closely related to theirs than to the American gardening antecedents of Mount Vernon and the Victorian era.